I've known Ben Lamm for over five years. He runs Chaotic Moon, a really neat mobile-app-development shop that churns out some really innovative apps. I came across him while researching The New Small. Since that time, the company has exploded from three employees to more than 200. Clearly, it's doing something right.
I recently sat down with him to talk about the company's recent acquisition and the importance of teams and creativity in the workplace.
PS: Tell me a little about what Chaotic Moon does.
BL: Chaotic Moon is a creative technology studio based in Texas. We have an office in Austin and Dallas and we're expanding to Houston soon. Our goal is to go out and create transformational digital products for the Fortune 500 and 1000 businesses around the world, and our passion is to push the bounds of what's possible through technology and solve core business problems through building these digital products -- either at the B2B, B2C, or even on the enterprise level.
PS: Tell me about some of the more popular apps that you've built.
BL: We've really grown as a business, and our initial customers were fantastic, but we've really evolved. Now people know us for some of our bigger mobile apps, such as the Caesars app and Marvel Unlimited, Marvel's entire subscription-based comic book platform.
Besides software, people often know us from our SXSW presentations and from the mind-controlled skateboard to the taser and flame-throwing drones. We've also got a couple of other projects that we'll be rolling out that combine software and hardware in new, innovative ways to spur the conversation and different ways of using technology creatively.
PS: You've had quite a few acquisition offers in the past. Why did you choose to go with Accenture?
BL: Chaotic Moon has had this sort of meteoric rise. At one point, we were three dudes, a dog and a laptop, and now we're over 200 people. And Accenture is this top publicly traded international company with an impeccable reputable and global reach. We've had acquisition offers come in before, but when we were having conversations with Accenture, unlike conversations we've had with other people in the past, they really understood Chaotic Moon, who we are, what we do and what our goals are, and they wanted to see us achieve those goals and grow under the Accenture brand.
PS: Will you still be the same Chaotic Moon under Accenture?
BL: At the end of the day, they would have to buy a completely different company or replace pretty much everyone for it not to be Chaotic Moon. We're really thrilled to partner with them, and part of the basis for the partnership was that they loved who we are, both as a company and as people. They actually love the aggressiveness, the brand and who we are as a company. They said that one of their greatest fears was that we would lose our edge and our attitude. That was one of the defining moments for us during the deal. We've proven to them, even in the first few days, that we're not losing our edge. We're still called Chaotic Moon and we still deliver Chaotic Moon services, but now we just have a global reach and a really big parent company behind us.
PS: How do you go about building a great team?
BL: You know, even if you have magic technology, you want to come in and work with great people. In our office, it reads "We're The Best" on the wall when you walk in, and we really believe that. We want to create the best solutions for our customers, work with the best clients and hire the best people.
Essentially, we really care about whether they have that drive, that attitude and aggression, that desire to be technology vanguards that will not just push Chaotic Moon and other companies forward, but the entire industry forward. Based on the nature of Chaotic Moon -- who we are, the clients that we work with and the game-changing software products we build for some of the world's largest companies.
We attract a lot of great talent. And while we spend a lot of time in the interview process assessing skills, we spend just as much time assessing passions, and we have people here that are screenwriters, musicians, artists and yogis all over the board. And the end of the day, that is the secret sauce of Chaotic Moon: It's the people and the passion.
PS: Can you speak about the importance of creativity in the workplace?
BL: I haven't actually been asked this before, but this is something that I think is pretty important. This is how we position ourselves in the market. It's critical for us to constantly reinforce creativity in the workplace. We're a creative technology studio, but we don't have a designated creative department. Creativity is a culture, and it has to come from our project managers, our QA leads, our solutions architects, our engineers and our designers. Everywhere.
We also try to spend a lot of time building great spaces where people wanna work, and I think creativity bleeds into that as well. We design spaces so people can be optimal and efficient but also have the best experience here.
Last but not least, we want people to experiment and also understand cross-platform technologies, hardware and software both, so we actually will do internal projects all the time where we bring in the different facets of the company all under one little internal project so that they get to work in different capacities with different team members and learn different skills. We highly encourage exploration, curiosity and taking risks, and that's all essential to creativity.